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Volume III
May 6, 2011


Weekly Home / Cook'n & Eat'n

Reader Response to the Chocolatey Cooking Boo Boo

By Alice Osborne

Our last Cook'n issue's article, Cooking Boo Boos We've All Made, brought lots of feedback. Here's a response we received from a reader, Colleen Kilmer:

"I enjoyed your article on Cooking Boo Boos but, thought you might consider adding info from the following site regarding chocolate that "seizes" or becomes grainy/clumped, etc. It does work because I had to use the method that Nestle's lists to save it. It is cheaper than tossing it out." (http://www.verybestbaking.com/Resources/Baking-School/Articles/Seizing-Morsels.aspx)

We thank Colleen for taking the time to respond and for the great suggestion and information she shared. This is YOUR newsletter and our heart's desire is to meet your needs and interests. So per Colleen's recommendation, let's talk about this chocolate issue. Below is the information she referenced, taken off the Nestle's site (so "Thank you!" to Nestle as well), as well as one of Aunt Annie's great chocolate-using recipes (just for drill):

"Have you ever noticed that when chocolate isn't melted right, it tends to clump up? That's what we call "seizing." Here's how to melt chocolate to creamy perfection, and how to fix it when it does seize.

"So why does chocolate seize? Because Nestle TOLL HOUSE morsels are real chocolate, they have a low melting point. If the sugar in the chocolate is heated at too high of a temperature, it will scorch and the chocolate will seize.

"Another culprit is water, even the tiniest bit. For example, even droplets on a wooden spoon can cause chocolate to harden.

"Then how do we fix seized chocolate? All it takes is a little oil or shortening. However, we don't recommend using butter, spreads, water, or milk. For all morsels listed, the measurements are based on 6 oz or 1 cup." [Here is Nestle's recommendations for add-ins that will fix any seizing of their various chocolate products:]

  • Butterscotch Morsels: Use 2 Tbsp of shortening or vegetable, canola or corn oil
  • Milk Chocolate Morsels: Use 1 Tbsp of shortening or vegetable, canola or corn oil
  • Peanut Butter & Milk Chocolate Morsels: Use 1 Tbsp of vegetable, canola or corn oil. Shortening is not recommended.
  • Premier White Bars: Use 2 Tbsp of shortening or vegetable, canola or corn oil
  • Premier White Morsels: Use 1 Tbsp of shortening or vegetable, canola or corn oil
  • Semi-Sweet Morsels and Bars: Use 1 Tbsp of shortening or vegetable, canola or corn oil
  • Chocolatier Bars Bittersweet and Dark: Use 2 Tbsp of shortening or vegetable, canola or corn oil

[And here is Nestle's recommendations on the best way to melt their morsels and baking bars:] Nestle TOLL HOUSE Semi-Sweet Chocolate Baking

  1. Microwave 8 oz. broken baking bars in small, microwave-safe bowl on high (100% power) for 1 minute; stir. Microwave at additional 10- to 20-second intervals, stirring until smooth.
  2. Melt 8 oz. broken baking bars in a small, heavy-duty saucepan over lowest possible heat. When they begin to melt, remove from heat and stir. Return to heat for a few seconds at a time, stirring until smooth.
  3. Chop up the bars into smaller pieces and heat in the top of an uncovered double boiler over hot (not boiling) water. When most of morsels are shiny, stir until smooth. Nestle TOLL HOUSE Semi-sweet Morsels, Chocolate Chunks, and Mini Morsels
  4. Microwave 1 cup (6 oz) of morsels in a small microwave-safe bowl on high (100% power) for 1 minute; stir. Microwave at additional 10- to 20-second intervals, stirring until smooth. To melt 2 cups of morsels, microwave a few seconds longer.
  5. Melt 1-2 cups of morsels over lowest possible heat. When they begin to melt, remove from heat, stir. Return to heat for a few seconds at a time, stirring until smooth. [Note: Not recommended for Butterscotch Morsels, Milk Chocolate Morsels, Mint-Chocolate Morsels and Premier White Morsels.]
  6. Heat in the top of an uncovered double boiler over hot (not boiling) water. When most of the morsels are shiny, stir until smooth. Nestle TOLL HOUSE Milk Chocolate Morsels and Premier White Morsels
  7. Microwave 1 cup (6 oz) of morsels in small, microwave-safe bowl on medium-high (70% power) for 1 minute; stir. Morsels may retain some of their original shape. If necessary, microwave at additional 10- to 15-second intervals, stirring just until morsels are melted. To melt 2 cups (12 oz.) of morsels, microwave a few seconds longer.
  8. Place morsels in top of double boiler over hot (not boiling) water. Do not cover. Prevent water from coming in contact with morsels. When most of the morsels are shiny, stir just until melted. Once melted, immediately remove top pan with melted morsels from bottom pan. Nestle TOLL HOUSE Butterscotch Morsels and Dark Chocolate & Mint Morsels
  9. Melt 1 cup (6 oz.) of morsels in uncovered, microwave-safe bowl on MEDIUM- HIGH (70%) power for 1 minute; STIR. Morsels may retain some of their original shape. If necessary, microwave at additional 10- to 15-second intervals, stirring just until morsels are melted. To melt 1 2/3 cups (11 oz.) of morsels, microwave a few seconds longer.
  10. Place morsels in top of double boiler over hot (not boiling) water. Do not cover. Prevent water from coming in contact with morsels. When most of the morsels are shiny, stir just until melted. Once melted, immediately remove top pan with melted morsels from bottom pan.

CHOCOLATE DECADENCE COOKIE

These dome-shaped cookies are a creation of a Vancouver chef, these are so good they've been written up in the Vancouver Sun, as well as in the Los Angeles Times. However, it's easy to get a less-than-perfect result if you don't make them just right. Here are the secrets to recreating this award winning recipe:

  1. Use top quality chocolate. For best taste, and to help the recipe hold its shape, use a bittersweet chocolate with at least 65% cocoa content. I strongly recommend that you try either Varlhona chocolate or Scharffen-Berger for your recipe chocolate cookie. These chocolates can be difficult to find, but you can order online (http:// www.chocolatesource.com/products/baking.asp)
  2. Be sure to beat the egg-sugar mixture until it reaches a thick ribbon stage. This will take at least 10 minutes; more is better.
  3. Chill the beaten mixture well before baking.
  • 1/2 pound bittersweet chocolate
  • 3 tbsp butter, room temperature
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbsp honey (blackberry honey is recommended)
  • 1/3 cup sugar, plus a bit more when you are rolling
  • 3/4 cup ground almonds
  • 1 tsp cocoa powder to up coca content
  • pinch salt

Melt the chocolate in double boiler over top of boiling water. Do not let top of double boiler come in contact with boiling water. Cut butter into small pieces and mix into the melted chocolate. Beat eggs with mixer. Add sugar and honey gradually and beat until the mixture reaches thick ribbon stage. Fold it into the chocolate/butter mixture.

Mix cocoa powder, salt and ground almonds together. Add gently to the chocolate mixture. Refrigerate overnight, covered. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Using an ice cream scoop, form the dough into balls one inch in diameter. Roll the balls in granulated sugar, working quickly so mixture does not warm too much. Place on baking sheet. Bake at 325 F for 12 minutes. Centers should be moist but not wet.






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